Did Egyptians Elect Mubarak's Family ? Arab Journalists Convene
The "Media in Danger" conference begun on Sunday's one-year anniversary of An-Nahar general manager Gebran Tueni's assassination came to a ringing conclusion Monday as panelists from nearly a dozen Arab countries joked, argued and stunned audience members with tales of harassment by politicians, police and extremists in their respective countries.
In a spirit of grim humor and determination to speak out against the ongoing censorship and government tolerated harassment that many of them face, Arab journalists tried to one up each other in their stories of repression, only to find that many of them were in comparable trouble. The conference, held over the weekend in Antelias, featured an address by the Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Sinoria , and David Ignatius, an American syndicated columnist, moderated the panel on censorship.
The conference dealt with the question of self censorship, and
debate took place over whether secular Arab regimes or the Islamic
groups that oppose them constitute the greater threat to press freedom.
Perhaps the most surreal anecdote came from the editor of Al-Dustour,
who faces charges of slandering Hosni Mubarak. Quoting from the charges
against him,Ibrahim Issa said that he had allegedly caused "distress" to Egyptians who had lawfully elected "Hosni Mubarak and his family... That is what it says! Mubarak and his family.." . Part of the Egyptian public would no doubt be surprised at having elected an entire group of Mubaraks. Does the mandate stop at first cousins, or extend even unto the second degree?